Stevens: Lobo Football Camp Gets You Off The Couch

June 11, 2013

New Mexico Lobos Football -- 2013 Lobo Football Camp

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

There are lots of reasons to go to Lobo Football Camp. It's fun. It's good exercise. You learn lots of stuff about football.

It gets you off the couch.

That's one of the reasons that R.J., a Bel Haven Elementary student, decided to venture over to the University of New Mexico football fields. He joined up with the 285 campers enrolled in the Lobo Football Camp session designed for kids from second grade to the eighth grade.

He wanted to get off the couch.

"Last summer I was sitting on the couch kind of bored," said R.J. "I wanted to get off the couch and play again so I asked my mom to sign me up. I didn't play last year, but I wanted to get back into the game of football. I need to learn more about football.

"I like this camp because you have coaches who know the game and some who even played the game."

There were no couches out on the Lobo fields on Tuesday, but there were tackling dummies, whistles, footballs, Gatorade and plenty of coaches giving instruction. There were a lot of smiles on a lot of faces, too.

"I came here because I wanted to get better at football and I'm learning a lot," said Caleb, who attends Hope Christian. "They are teaching us how to get better. They are teaching us good stuff.

"The quarterbacks are learning how to throw more accurately. The receivers are learning to catch better. The running backs are learning how to run harder. The DBs are learning to cover better and the linemen are learning to block and tackle better."

Well, that about covers it. The campers almost covered all the grass on the practice fields, too. In fact, when the camper divided into teams for some live scrimmaging, some of the campers had to jog over to Branch Field in University Stadium in order to find some space.

"We had fewer than 40 kids last year and we had 285 this year. It was encouraging to see," said Brian DeSpain, UNM's director of football operations and camp director. "We partnered with YAFL and that naturally helped with the numbers.

"Coach Davie is always talking about little ripples and how everything helps. Anything we can do to get the kids and the community thinking about Lobo football can only help us. It's fun to see kids out here loving football and loving being out here.

"It's funny to me when you come out to something like this that you're not sure who is having the most fun, the kids or our coaches. There is nobody who comes come out here who doesn't have a good time."

The camp had a variety of teaching stations that emphasized different elements of the game. For sure, the tackling dummies were a big hit - and fun to hit.

"I already know most of the stuff they are teaching me," said Ashton, a five-year YAFL veteran, who attends LBJ middle school. "I'm out here because it's so much fun. Football is my favorite sport."

Said Christian from Santa Fe: "I've learned some good stuff. I've learned how to run the ball and catch the ball. I like the Lobos. They are pretty cool."

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.